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ACGA president comments on EPA pending waiver for Clean Air Act

Keith Bolin, president of the American Corn Growers Association, submitted official comments to Lisa Jackson, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, in early May, supporting a pending waiver to the Clean Air Act to allow increased use of ethanol in gasoline.

Bolin's submission to Jackson read:

ACGA fully supports the waiver as we have always seen biofuels as a key component in the move away from fossil fuels and a viable option to provide for a cleaner and more sustainable environment.

Expanded production and utilization of ethanol will improve the nation's carbon footprint. In fact, it has been demonstrated that technology innovations are making corn ethanol more sustainable, efficient, and low-carbon at the same time the age of easy oil is history, as future sources of oil prove to be expensive to extract and carbon-intensive.

The increased economic viability of farming operations allows farmers to reconsider long-term environmental aspects of their farms. More importantly, allowing blends up to E15 to be used in America's existing vehicle fleet today would immediately create jobs, ensure a market for next generation biofuels, and provide consumers meaningful choices at the pump. The combination of these public policy benefits and the scientific evidence in support of blends up to E15, compel us to encourage the Obama administration to take swift action to approve such blends.

ACGA fully understands that this modest increase in the blend rate of ethanol will not increase harmful auto emissions and may actually reduce them. We are also well aware that the testing so far has demonstrated that automobiles and small engines can operate well on blends up to E15; and we are convinced that future testing will demonstrate that these vehicles and engines can operate on much higher ethanol blends.

Given the numerous benefits of increasing the ethanol blend rate, ACGA strongly believes that this option will be a very wise and timely decision by EPA to do so. Those benefits include expanding the nation's fuel supply, reducing carbon emissions, helping to stabilize the financial positions of struggling ethanol refiners--many owned by farmers--and protecting the recent gains made in revitalizing the farm community.

We understand that our country's new administration is one where logic shall prevail. A decision to increase the ethanol blend rate is a clear example of how innovative and committed the Obama administration is to continuing the march towards energy independence, stabilizing our agricultural and rural communities and, most importantly, protecting the interests of American consumers.

ACGA appreciates EPA's swift review of the data and looks forward to the agency's ultimate determination of a scientifically-defensible higher blend level for future ethanol use in gasoline. We also want to make it clear that we support the retail availability of a range of blends, so that consumers and, particularly, small engine users will have meaningful fueling choices.

The American Corn Growers Association is grateful for the opportunity to comment on the pending E15 waiver request. And we restate our adamant support for the proposition.



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